this month's topic for Journeys:
"Guard the secret theatre of your heart. See nothing there that you do not want to see happen in reality."
- Roy H. Williams, author, master advertiser
An Extended Meditation on Life - Part 4
so apparently, there's quite the show going on in the secret theatre of my heart. i've been introduced, formally, to a number of the players in the last few days. here i thought i was the starring role. instead, i find, i have the occasional cameo apperance whilst a myriad of other characters, some serious, some flamboyant, some ragingly eccentric, monopolize the majority of the stage.
there is Insecurity, a waifish little girl with fine, flyaway hair. she wears a slightly faded dress, not quite out of style but not quite in either. she prefers to watch from the edges, where she is perched on her stool. loud noises and arguments make her flinch.
her sister, Jealousy, tries to draw Insecurity out into the center of the stage. Jealousy trips everyone up as she tries to weasel her way into the middle of every conversation, often ducking under arms, spilling coffees as she does, or stepping on toes in her haste to get to where she can hear the discussion. she is often running wildly, as the conversations on the other side of the room are always the most interesting. she often thinks that they are talking about her over there, only to discover when she arrives that nothing could be further from the truth. Insecurity can't convince Jealousy that people really have far better things to discuss.
these two take after their aunt a little bit. Aunt Bitterness, whom noone has ever seen smile, encourages Jealousy's little tyrannies and fuels Insecurity's fears by whispering mean things to her. the family has always thought Bitterness was a bad influence on the children, and they've sent her off on cruise vacations or safaris before, just to get some relief. but like a bad penny, she keeps turning up, often at inopportune times like family reunions.
often, the entire set is turned upside down, chairs broken, mirrors cracked, when Rage makes an entrance. Rage is an unbroken horse, terrifyingly beautiful. noone dares tell Rage that horses really shouldn't be onstage. instead, they duck out of the way, trying to avoid the sharp hooves as Rage tramples thru the room, eyes sparking and black mane whipping around.
in the aftermath of such a visit, two little trolls named Fear and Remorse usually come thru, abjectly sorting thru the remains once again, picking up shards of glass and sweeping up splinters. they are always apologetic, if a little late.
the director, Reason, sits back watching. he could certainly take a more hands-on approach, but for reasons best known to himself, he chooses to 'allow the art to evolve', letting the actors develop the acts from a sparsely written script. i suspect that he really rather likes the mess and tension, and likes watching it happen without going there himself.
the rest of the players are harder to name. they don't ask for top billing, or, in fact, any billing at all. they never wanted to be stars, they protest. i rather wish they would change their minds, as they are easier, more elegant to watch.
Confidence moves quietly thru her scenes, offering her lines with just the right intonation, playing easily off the other actors. she never upstages anyone, altho her gentle radiance always catches your eye. she often travels with Sensuality; the two of them are comfortable being together.
Happiness is a difficult character; her lines are pivotal in many of the scenes, but she is shy and doesn't like the attention much. it's a struggle to get her to make her appearances on time, and most times she will make a hasty exit as soon as she can. Confidence is thinking of taking Happiness under her wing, and offering to be her mentor. the rest of the cast are hoping that this will make a difference, as the scenes Happiness plays in are memorable ones. (at least most of the cast feels this way; Jealousy disagrees, because she hates being upstaged.)
another of the bit players, it seems, is Patience, altho not for lack of wanting. the director just never writes substantial enough parts for her. he is uninterested in even having her as a background player. mostly, the rest of the cast doesn't care, except when the act has dragged on for too long. then they wish Patience would be given a monologue, or anything, some sort of business, just to give them a break.as with any play, any cast, there are those people who become the den parents for the rest of the cast. in this theatre, it is Love and Understanding. they are the seasoned veterans among the actors, and often step in to negotiate spats or work out a particularly troublesome scene. the rest have joked around that Reason, being as hands-off as he is, hasn't really earned the title of director; instead, the title should be given to these two. but they don't want fancy titles or responsibility. they are happy to help out where they can. Understanding is often the only one who can talk to Bitterness, and Insecurity trusts Love more than any other person.
as i've watched the scenes play out in my secret theatre recently, it's become evident that Love and Understanding are a perfectly-matched pair of leading actors. if we can draft Concord as a company manager for this season, perhaps we can work out a better arrangement for the whole company, where Rage is tamed or loaned out to a circus, Insecurity and Jealousy blossom into Confidence's children, Bitterness stops poisoning the well, Confidence and Sensuality help Happiness conquer her stage fright, Patience becomes the Greek chorus (with less drastic overtones), and Love and Understanding take center stage.